Contrasts in Conversations on a Trout Opener

I didn’t get out on opening day, but I was able to get out today, the day after opening day.

Last year I moved, and along with my new home, I have a new home waters.

Southeastern Michigan does not have an abundance of trout water, but my new home waters is one the gems in the area.

Today, with only an hour or two available to be on the stream, I rushed to the first access point.  The small parking lot was full, and another car was parked along the street side.  Two fisherman were making their way to the water.  This was already too crowded for me.

I drove on to the next access point I knew of, and there parking lot had spots available.  As I geared up, I saw a fisherman walking towards me. We struck up a conversation, as I noticed he was fishing bamboo.  He asked about my fiberglass rod, and we began to swap some stories. He seemed to be content in taking his time, and sharing some stories. He revealed to me that he was 72 years old, and had been exclusively fly fishing for 30 years. He talked of some fly shops near Lovells, and about the unfortunate death of a specific owner many years ago. This discussion of age turned to a discussion about the decrease in health and lifespan he had noticed amongst the smokers he knew.  He said he was glad he quit at the age of 30. I could tell he was experienced, but was also humble.  I wish I would have asked for his name, because he was the type of guy I would like to fish with.

Shortly after our conversation, I stepped into the water and tied on a bead nymph.  I broke the winter-laden rust from my elbow around the third cast, and tossed the nymph where it was supposed to go.  I worked my way downstream, and came upon quite the large log jam.  I decided to switch to a black woolly bugger, and at the very end of the run I moved a very large fish.  It would be the only fish I would see.

As I was beginning to wrap things up to leave, I heard a voice behind me.  A fisherman was asking how I was doing.  He was much younger than the fellow I met before entering the water.  He asked what flies I had tried, and offered up some advice. He informed me that he was able to get into Gates Lodge on the trout opener weekend, a feat in and of itself, because of a cancellation, and had just returned from there.  However, he had been skunked, and said that he just had to catch a fish.  I noticed he was smoking.  He wished me a good evening before jumped into the next available hole, and started casting.